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Lost luggage at Salt Lake airport packed full of illegal prescription drugs

Police were called by an airline Friday afternoon after a bag was labeled as missing and suspicious and was found full of prescription drugs.

Police were called by an airline Friday afternoon after a bag was labeled as missing and suspicious and was found full of prescription drugs. (Alex Cabrero, KSL-TV)


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SALT LAKE CITY — Many of us know that feeling of the luggage starting to show up at baggage claim after a flight, but your bag isn't there.

Whoever owns a purple-colored bag at Salt Lake City International Airport sure knows how that feels. However, unlike other passengers with missing luggage at the airport, the owner of that purple bag might not dare try to get it back.

"Upon further investigation, we found that it contained several thousand packages of prescription medication," said Cottonwood Heights Police Sgt. Gary Young.

That bag is now with Cottonwood Heights police detectives as evidence. An airline gave police a call late Friday afternoon after the bag was labeled as missing and suspicious.

When police opened it, three bags full of prescription medication packets were wrapped in plastic and surrounded by cloves of garlic.

"The garlic was in there to throw off any K9s," Young said. "We're looking at over 2,300 packages and each packet is worth about $300. So, we're looking in the area of about $700,000 to $1 million dollars for prescription medication."

That medication involves Viagra, Cialis, and other pills.

Since the luggage came from an international airport, Young said it would be illegal without a prescription.

"I'm very confident that it's probably not going to be legal," Young said. "We typically do not get such a large quantity, which leads us to believe, yeah, this would be supplying the local dealers with a significant amount, and we believe it's a sophisticated operation."

Police have the man's name from luggage tags, but don't know if that's a real name or if the guy got on the plane. It's also possible someone else was supposed to pick the bag up. Either way, getting it back will require a little more than calling lost and found.

"We're hoping he comes forward to get his luggage so we can close this investigation," Young said. "We have enough information that we may be able to come to a conclusion."

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Alex Cabrero

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